Narelle Atkins grew up near the beautiful northern beaches of Sydney, Australia. She started writing romance in 1998, and when she discovered the inspirational romance genre in 1999, she knew she’d found her genre.
A busy “mum,” part time retail worker, and co-founder of the 30 Minute Bible Studies website and Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA), Narelle sold her first book to Harlequin Love Inspired’s Heartsong Presents in 2012, and signed a six-book contract in 2013. In February 2014, Falling for the Farmer released in North America.
She lives in Canberra with her husband and children.
What sparked your writing journey?
I’ve always been an avid romance reader and I decided I wanted to try and write my own romance novel. I had numerous imaginary friends when I was younger and an overactive imagination. It seemed logical to ask the question ‘What if…’ when my curiosity was piqued, and develop stories around possible scenarios. I’ve always enjoyed the brainstorming stage of story development and exploring different possibilities.
How does your faith play into your work?
My faith inspires and shapes my character’s values and beliefs. The main characters have a spiritual story arc and grow in their faith during the story. They struggle with different issues, and their faith influences their behavior and the choices they make.
Her Tycoon Hero is a contemporary inspirational romance set in Australia. Cassie, my heroine, is a former party girl, recovering alcoholic, and new Christian who is trying to escape her past. Ryan, my hero, is a successful management consultant who works with Cassie’s father. Ryan wants to find his missing bad boy brother who used to party with Cassie. He’s entranced by her beauty, but can he trust her with his heart?
Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?
A recent detour in my life relates to my health. I ended up having two surgical procedures in hospital within eleven days. The first one was planned, and an emergency appendectomy was unexpected. It happened when revisions were due on my sixth book, Seaside Proposal, and I had post-surgery complications that delayed my recovery.
I’d worked hard for two years, delivering six books in fifteen months. Two books in my contract were complete manuscripts that needed some rewriting, and a third was a completed first draft. I sold the other three books on proposal. My health issues happened after I submitted the last book in my contract, and they would have created bigger problems had I lost five or six weeks from my schedule when I was on deadline. This detour has really made me think and pray about how to structure my schedule, including my writing and day job, to minimize the stress in my life if something goes wrong.
What’s your advice for those who dream of writing but aren’t sure how to find the time?
If you’re passionate about writing, you’ll prioritize the time to write. It’s very easy to procrastinate and find excuses to justify why we can’t write. Goal setting and planning a realistic writing schedule, plus accountability for meeting your goals, is a helpful way to move forward and stay on track.
I used to write for two hours every Friday morning when my children were young. My writing progress wasn’t fast, but I made the most of those few hours of uninterrupted writing time.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate and lattes. I crave chocolate when I’m stuck, and I reward myself with latte’s when I meet my previous day’s word count.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
A fun, light hearted and happy song that matches the type of stories I like to write.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Probably the strong, female lead. I set goals and I’m persistent in working toward achieving them, despite the obstacles in my path.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
We don’t have a pet at the moment, unless you count virtual pets on my kid’s gaming consoles or the magpies (native birds) who spend a lot of time in our backyard. My family have even named three of them. Magpies are known for being swooping birds in Spring time, but these magpies seem to co-exist quite happily with my family.
Right: “Bill, the Magpie”
Thank you, Narelle! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Kathy, thank you for the opportunity to visit Divine Detour and connect with your readers.
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For more information about Narelle, visit her website.
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